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Sunday, July 31, 2011

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FASTLANE -- THE BLOG OF DOT SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD

Althought his blog's name sounds like a super highway, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's blog is as much focused on livable communities as it is on overpasses and flyovers.

Urbanists have praised LaHood's advocacy for transit, bike lanes, safer sidewalks and other modes of transportation that reduce our automobile dependency.

http://fastlane.dot.gov/

Saturday, July 30, 2011

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DONALD SHOUP

Donald Shoup wants to take away your free parking.

He doesn't even want you to have cheap, under market value parking.

Before you suburbanites want to scalp him, read the well-thought-out essays by this UCLA professor with advanced degrees from Yale.

He makes a lot of sense.

He explains that the short gains we make in the pocket book by enjoying free seas of parking at malls and big box retailers are far outstripped by the astronomical costs we pay for building and trying to sustain sprawl.

His plans to use parking to help build compact, livable neighborhoods has earned him a legion of breathless followers -- the Shoupistas.

http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/

Friday, July 29, 2011

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The National Transportation Research Center

We quote:

"The NTRC was created to respond to the needs of industry and government agencies as they address issues related to expanding and maintaining transportation systems that move people and goods safely, efficiently, and reliably."

"About 160 researchers and supporting staff from The University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory work at the NTRC."

"These researchers represent a unique set of research capabilities that deal with almost every aspect of the transportation industry."

http://www.ntrc.gov/

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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MIAMI DESIGN PRESERVATION LEAGUE

Founded in 1976, The Miami Design Preservation League is the oldest Art Deco preservation society in the world.

Before the models, hoteliers, club owners, restaurateurs, Europeans and others flocked to South Beach, some ill-advised planners and developers wanted to wipe out the gem that is the Art Deco District.

The MDPL came to the rescue and continues to battle to preserve art deco gems to this day. Its Art Deco weekend in January is the perfect time for the rest of the frozen world to jet into Miami Beach to enjoy the timeless modern design and human-scaled, walkable district.

http://www.mdpl.org/

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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PLACEMAKERS

Featuring some of the most eloquent voices in planning, coding, marketing and other elements of placemaking, this collaborative of experts based all over the U.S. puts out some of the most thoughtful writing on town planning.

Hazel Borys, Susan Henderson, Howard Blackson, Geoff Dyer, Nathan Norris, Scott Doyon and Ben Brown are some of the best and brightest thinkers who will help us build truly livable communities of all sizes, scales and densities appropriate for our reset economy in the early 21st century.

http://www.placemakers.coM

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH)
Founded in the year of America's Bicentennial (that's 1976, for those of you children born in the 90s), SATH has done a lot of groundbreaking work to make travel more accessible to people with disabilities.

http://sath.org/

Monday, July 25, 2011

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NEW YORK ARCHITECTURE

Want to learn about everything from a modernest condo squeezed onto a charming Chelsea lot to a famed Spite House, read it here.

From http://nyc-architecture.com/ we quote:

VALENTINE'S MANUAL OF OLD NEW YORK (1929)
THE QUEEREST HOUSE IN THIS COUNTRY

A.G. Van der Weyde
New York for a period of thirty-two years boasted the queerest house in this country, if not in the entire world. This was the famous Richardson "Spite House." at Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street. The house extended north 104 feet on the avenue, but was only, five feet wide. In general appearance it was not unlike a bicycle case set on end. The house attracted much attention during its brief existence. which terminated a little less than five years ago.
The house was erected to satisfy a personal grudge and the owner lived fifteen years to enjoy the discomfort that it caused the man he wished to spite. The story of the "Spite House," as a result of much litigation in the courts, is voluminously told in the court records. Briefly this is the story:
In the year 1882 one Hyman Sarner, a clothier, who owned several lots on East 82nd Street, wished to build apartment houses on his property, which extended to within a few feet of Lexington Avenue. On the Lexington Avenue side was a very long and very narrow strip of land, absolutely valueless, he thought, for any building purpose, unless taken in conjunction with adjoining land.
Sarner ascertained that one Joseph Richardson was the owner of the narrow strip along the Avenue. He offered Richardson $1,000 for the land, but Richardson demurred, saying he considered the property worth very much more. He wanted $5,000. Sarner refused to pay this price and Richardson called his
visitor a "tight-wad" and slammed the door on him. Sarner then proceeded with the construction of his apartment house and arranged with the architect who drew the plans that there should be windows overlooking Lexington Avenue. When the. houses were finished Richardson noted the windows and then and there determined upon his curious revenge.
"I shall build me," he said to his daughtter, "a couple of tall houses on the little strip which will bar the light from Sarner's windows overlooking my land, and he'll find he would have profited had he paid me the $5,000."
The daughter, Della by name, unavailingly protested, as did also Richardson's wife, that a house only five feet wide would he uninhabitable.
The old man, who had acquired a reputation as a miser, was obdurate. "Not only will I build the houses," he insisted, "but I will live in one of them and I shall rent to other tenants as well. Everybody is not fat and there will be room enough for people who are not circus or museum folk."
So, within a year, the house was built. It effectively blocked out the light from all the side windows on Sarner's property, and old Dir. Richardson was happy. The Richardson "Spite House" was four stories in height and was divided into eight suites, two on each floor. Each suite consisted of three rooms and bath, running along the Lexington Avenue side of the structure.
Only the very smallest furniture could be fitted into the rooms. The stairways were so narrow that only one person could use a stair at a time. If a tenant wished to descend or ascend, from one floor to another, he would, of necessity, have to ascertain that no one else was using the stair. The halls throughout the house were so narrow that one person could pass another only by dodging into of the rooms until the other had passed by. The largest dining table in any of the suites was 18 inches in width. The chairs were proportionately small. The kitchen stoves were the very smallest that are made.
Richardson, with his wife. Emma-she was the old man's second wife occupying a suite on the ground floor. "Miss Della." as she was known, the daughter, who followed the example of her penurious father in her mode of life declined to live in the Spite House, declaring that it was "too swell" a structure for her. She was now far along in years and preferred to remain where she had long lived in a dwelling called "the Prison House" on East Houston Street. She was seen by the neighbors only in the early morning, when she swept the steps, visited the grocery store for some bare necessities and returned to immulate herself in her "prison house;' where she refused to see any visitors.
"Miss Della" was almost as wealthy as her father. She was as avaricious and parsimonious as the old man and owned much property in New York City.
Joseph Richardson died in 1897 at the age of eightyfour. He left his preoperty-including, of course, the famous "Spite. House"-to his widow and the two children, one of whom was the " Miss Della" of "Prison House" fame. The builder of the "Spite House" was buried in a coffin which he had had made thirty-two ,years earlier and which he had always stored in a room of the house where he lived.
Soon after the old man's death "Miss Della" brought suit against her stepmother to dispossess her from her quarters in the "Spite House," Miss Della " claiming that the aged miser's wife was merely a tenant and could he evicted upon due notice. Mrs. Richardson fought the case in the courts for many months.
In the year 1902 the "Spite House" was sold by the heirs to James V. Graham and Charles Reckling. later it passed into the possession of C. .A. Stein. a real estate dealer of East 752h Street. and in 1909 it again changed hands.
On August Z(1, 1915. the career of the strange house cattle to a sudden end when I3ing & Bing. real estate operators of 119 West 401h Street, abruptly bought the old building, and in short order tore it down, as well as two adjoining houses. and erected fit their place the big clcvcn-slory apartment house that now stands on the location made historic by the "Spite House."
New York newspaper turn who visited the "Spite House" wrote interesting stories about the queer building, and it was the subject a generation ago of many jokes and humorous drawings.
Deacon Terry. of "The American." who is now dead, and who was of rotund figure, was sent by his paper one day in the 90s, to interview Richardson at the "Spite House,*' He was told at the entrance that Richardson was not in his own apartment on the ground floor and that probable fie had gone up to the roof to see some workmen who were making repairs.
Terry started up but got stuck in the narrow stairway and found that the more he struggled to extricate himself the faster he seemed to become wedged. A tenant from the ground floor tried to help by pushing from below and a tenant from above who wanted to reach the street pushed in the opposite direction. It was a hot midsummer day and the corpulent reporter, perspiring profusely, was getting a pretty good mauling between the two tenants when the happy thought occurred to him of slipping out of his clothes. He found the expedient difficult enough of accomplishment but not impossible. After ten minutes of hard work he had rid himself of his outer garments. Forcing the upstairs tenant before him he proceeded to the roof, and to the interview, in his underclothes. In telling about his adventure later. Terry said that as he struggled on the stairway, he constantly thought of the loss of weight that attends profuse perspiration and could not but wonder how much or how long he would have to perspire to reduce his avoirdupois to such a point that he could disengage himself from the grasp of the stairway.



http://nyc-architecture.com/

Sunday, July 24, 2011

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RACKED

Racked is the third in the troika of NYC-based sassy websites that cover food, real estate and shopping.

Want to know about the latest expansion of Century 21? (the deep discount, high fashion retailer, not the real estate firm), the best handbag deal at Suarez?, the most recent designer to jump from Soho to MePa?

Read it in Racked.

http://ny.racked.com/

Saturday, July 23, 2011

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CURBED

From the same gawkers, bloggers, trust fund babies and hipsters that brought us Eater, Curbed delivers the same "cooler than you" daily dishes on the insane New York real estate world of co-ops, key fees, walkups, sublets, pre-wars and more.

Curbed also has national coverage, but it truly only excels and covering the Barbara Corcorans, Douglas Ellimans and Citi-Habitats of the Gotham real estate universe.

http://ny.curbed.com/

Friday, July 22, 2011

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EATER

Eater is the cheekiest, wise-crackinest foodie website on the planet.

It's also essential daily reading for frequent visitors to New York's culinary scene.

Where else could you get the inside info. on everything from Red Rooster Harlem to Momofuku Ssam Bar to Donut Plant?

Eater also covers Miami, LA and other large cities -- but the original NY Eater is the essential site.

http://ny.eater.com/

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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GREAT BUILDINGS ONLINE


This site is an amazing reference for classical and other architecture.

Our built environment helps define our quality of life.


http://greatbuildings.com/

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-72_HKL38CA8/Th73elTPHQI/AAAAAAAABB4/yjehXA_cnG0/s1600/strong%2Btowns.jpg">

STRONG TOWNS
Strong towns combines expertise with crips writing and a wicked sense of humor to let us know that automobile dependency is NOT freedom or independence.

Their cartoons on wrong-headed transportation engineering are spot on.

http://www.strongtowns.org/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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CEOs FOR CITIES

CEOs for Cities busts the myth that bike paths, walkability, urban density, public transit and other elements of smart growth are bad for job creation.

This site proves that businesses big and small are well-served by urban environments, not out of control sprawl.

http://www.ceosforcities.org/

Monday, July 18, 2011

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SHAREABLE
These folks have a handle on what our communites should be like after the great reset.

The future has lots of community gardens, bike lanes and mom and pop stores.

http://shareable.net/

Sunday, July 17, 2011

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BICYCLE UNIVERSE

Biking can make you a millionaire!

This clever, pro-cycling site shows you how.

Now, if only our "leaders" in Washington could save and boost funding for modes of transportation beyond the automobile.

http://bicycleuniverse.info/

Saturday, July 16, 2011

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FADING AD BLOG

This block chronicles cool old faded ads on buildings in New York.

Someone stole our idea!

We always wanted to do some hip urban photography like this, but these cool cats beat us to the punch.

http://www.fadingad.com/fadingadblog/

Friday, July 15, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -20


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


RESOURCES

• http://www.placeonline.us

• http://www.dougmoe.com

• http://www.cityofventura.net

• http://mcguffeyartcenter.com

• http://www.willkerner.com

• http://www.artspace.org

• http://www.broward.org/arts

• http://www.ermetro.com

• http://www.ogdencity.com

• http://www.historic25.com

• http://www.downtownartwalk.org

• http://lacowboy.blogspot.com

• http://www.downtownla.com

Wright frequently writes about Smart Growth and sustainable communities. He recently participated in the prestigious Forum on Land and the Built Environment: The Reinvented City sponsored by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Contact him at: stevewright64@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -19


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


The area still has plenty of rescue missions and social service agencies, but they share the former mean streets with chic restaurants, hip bars and galleries that make up one of the most popular monthly art walks in the nation.

"Believing in the power of the arts to transform, I helped found Downtown LA's Gallery Row, Art Walk, Neighborhood Council and Downtown Fashion Week," Westwater said, noting that a half dozen new loft residential spaces have also opened in the once abandoned and lawless historic core. "I also did most of the leasing of the art galleries and then the fashion stores in the area, pro bono. The arts community took the worst part of the Downtown Heroin District and turned it into the creative heart of Downtown. "

Wright frequently writes about Smart Growth and sustainable communities. He recently participated in the prestigious Forum on Land and the Built Environment: The Reinvented City sponsored by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Contact him at: stevewright64@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -18


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Westwater, a 60-something urban cowboy and darling of the LA media, and a few other arts-minded entrepreneurs all landed within a few blocks on 5th and Main when the area was at its most drug-deluged and decrepit.

Westwater and others went about convincing landlords that they would get a large return on their long-term investment if they started cleaning up the area by offering studio, gallery and living space to artists for very low rent.

"The renowned Bert Green Fine Art gallery moved from West Hollywood to Downtown and soon there were five popular art galleries in the area of 5th and Main," Westwater said. "We kept clearing the drug dealers out and then we tackled Winston, a small street near 5th and Main so dangerous that people wouldn't cross a half block of it in the daylight."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -17


In the 1990s, a chunk of Downtown Los Angeles was dominated by drug dealers and gangs. Artists, art galleries and like-minded urban pioneers helped fill vacant buildings and vacant lots while taming the mean streets of LA's Main Street.

Tom Waits wrote a song about The Nickel, an oddball ode to the hustlers, pimps, lost souls and worse who inhabited 5th Street. No corner was worse that 5th and Main -- before the arts changed everything.

"In the late '90s, more drugs were sold on that corner -- 5th and Main -- than anywhere in the world," said Brady Westwater, a character as big and over the top as the star struck and quake-prone City of Angels, who calls himself the unhired, unpaid "curator" of Downtown Los Angeles. "On the longer blocks, 80 to 90 drug dealers were out leaning against a building or standing on the sidewalk waiting for cars to drive up to buy drugs 24 hours a day. They had tents there that they rented to people crawl in and do their drugs."

Monday, July 11, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -16


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Brierley said performance and visual arts events bring citizens together for a common cause and give downtown businesses the opportunity to market themselves to an audience that may not otherwise visit the area.

"Our Historic 25th Street and the upper east side of the City have increased greatly in value," she said, noting that numerous historic dwellings have been remodeled and upgraded thanks to the arts renaissance.

"25th Street used to be known as a very dangerous place where prostitutes, alcohol and drugs were the mainstay. Now retail shops, restaurants, businesses, a comedy club and an amphitheater fill the street."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -15


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


The arts have played a big role in the resurgence of 25th Street -- the heart of Ogden’s Historic District.

The 1923 Italian Renaissance Union Station has been transformed from an important rail hub to the hub of downtown, with museums and events housed within its refurbished walls.

Historic 25th, as 25th Street is known, offers galleries, dining, boutique shopping, a comedy club, amphitheater and national comedy acts and the historic, 1920s Peery's Egyptian Theater.

"The historic district in Ogden is also known as the arts district. Numerous art galleries thrive there and all participate in a monthly gallery stroll that brings hundreds if not thousands of people to the downtown district," Brierley said. "Each features a new artist each month.

Public art installations outdoors have increased our tourism. The district has a renewed vitality and businesses are striving to move into the area to take advantage of that vitality."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -14


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Ogden, Utah, a railroad town of the old west, is thriving again after pinning much of its economic rebirth on the arts.

Matthew R. Godfrey, mayor since 2000, has worked hard to strengthen Ogden's historic downtown through the arts.

"Ogden City embraces art as a vital part of our economic development and our community," said Carolyn Brierley, Community & Events Coordinator for the Ogden City Corporation.

"We were the first city in Utah to implement a Percent for Art program whereby we set aside 1% of all capital improvement projects to create public art installations.

The City Council also allocates funding every year to give arts grants to local organizations (including non-arts organizations) for arts projects or for general support."

"The Mayor implemented a `Mayor’s Awards in the Arts' program whereby he recognizes a few individuals each year for their contributions to the arts," she continued. "

We hold an annual arts town meeting to bring art organizations together to network and learn about each others’ programs. We have a Mayor-appointed arts advisory committee that oversees all of these projects.

The committee is made up of individuals representing the eight major art disciplines – music, dance, theater, design, literary arts, visual arts, folk art, and media arts."

Friday, July 8, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -13


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


"My city, Minneapolis, has at least two such areas: the more urban warehouse district in the North Loop, and the quieter Northeast area of Minneapolis. The arts movement in each of these areas has brought about a growing need for housing and services in what were tired and rundown urban neighborhoods," Brooks continued.

"The accessibility of culture, localized retail, and great restaurants have brought new buyers looking for a friendly walkable neighborhood without a commute to the downtown business districts. This has stabilized and improved property values in many of these urban neighborhoods!"

Brooks praised cities that are rebuilding transit with light rail and other options where city residents can get to airports and suburban resources without a car.

"Our national economic slump will not last forever, but the way we live in and around our cities may be changed for the long haul," he observed. "Those little arts quarters growing in our cities may be a great piece of the solution to re-building our nation."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -12


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Urban-focused Realtor Carson Brooks, owner of EXIT Realty Metro in Minneapolis, links the arts with sustainable economic recovery and the future of our cities.

"I made a huge move out of a large suburban real estate office where I was managing broker into a small start-up in the city. We opened our office next door to a nationally known contemporary art museum and public sculpture garden," Brooks said.

"A big part of my initiative in doing this was about the major shift our economy is forcing on all of us. Urban sprawl was a part of our nation expanding beyond its means. The infrastructure, in most cases remains in our cities, and needs energy and rejuvenation."

Brooks said the rejuvenation at the core of many of our nation's large cities begins with arts and culture.

"It is an amazing concept when a tired quasi- industrial area of a city can germinate an artist-friendly neighborhood. It can begin with affordable studio space in old warehouse buildings and grow with coffee shops and retail in the same locations where pre-WW II grocers and corner bars once thrived," he explained.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -11


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


"There's a lot of very strong inherent value in artists and the arts and the creative sector," said Bill Mague, vice president and portfolio director for Artspace.

"But one could argue by the colloquialism `starving artist' that we don't value that enough in our society."

Mague said Artspace has been successful in underscoring the value of artists in dozens of cities in America.

"We demonstrate that value is delivered when there's a congregation of artists. We show cities that they need to protect the people who are participating in art," he continued.

"There is a great benefit when the community invests in a strategic asset of long term affordable space for artists."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -10


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Fort Lauderdale, Florida has transformed from a sleepy beach town into the hub of a hugely-populous county -- where lots of high-priced, high-rise housing has crowded into the city's modern downtown along the historic New River.

In a public/nonprofit partnership with the Broward County Cultural Division and the City of Fort Lauderdale, Artspace created 37 units of affordable live-work studios for individuals and their families in Fort Lauderdale's historic Sailboat Bend neighborhood.

The Sailboat Bend Lofts project was the result of a decade of work in the community.

In addition to the new construction lofts, the project also renovated the Historic West Side School, built in 1923, as the new home for the Broward County Historical Commission.

This new facility is located within walking distance of downtown Fort Lauderdale and its many cultural facilities.

Monday, July 4, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -9


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Minneapolis- based Artspace has developed affordable artist live-work spaces in dozens of cities across America.

The national non-profit developer arose out of an advocacy group trying to protect cheap artist spaces in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

"Finding and retaining affordable live-work space is an age-old problem for artists, painters, sculptors, dancers, and others who require an abundance of well-lit space in which to work.

Many artists gravitate to old warehouses and other industrial buildings, but their very presence in an industrial neighborhood often acts as a catalyst, setting in motion a process of gentrification that drives rents up and forces the artists out," Artspace explains on its website.

Striking the delicate balance of uplifting industrial, warehouse and forgotten areas through the arts -- while not gentrifying working class artists out of the very neighborhoods they pioneered -- is an ongoing challenge.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -8


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Two decades ago, Kerner founded Live Arts, a community theater organization that started in an old building offered at below market rent by a savvy landlord who knew that cultivating an arts community would eventually give him a large return on his investment.

Today, Live Arts is located in a modern, funky, steel building know as the Community Center for the Contemporary Arts, which houses gallery and performance space worthy of a city 10 times the size of Charlottesville. Live Arts produces everything from traditional to experimental theater filling the theater space about 100 nights per year.

"When you support the arts with money, space and volunteers, pretty soon you become know as a regional spot where a lot of cultural activity is happening," Kerner said.

"And now you have lots of downtown living -- with significant conversions, renovations and brand new construction over the past 20 years. The once sleepy downtown now has dwellings selling for a half million dollars."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -7


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Photographer Will Kerner, an associate artist who exhibits at McGuffey, but does not have studio space there, agrees that the arts are key to making downtown Charlottesville a viable district where land values have appreciated.

Kerner has been instrumental in starting several stalwart live performance and other artistic nonprofits in the center of Charlottesville.

"When we started 20 years ago, downtown was a quiet place after dark. Very few businesses were open past 5 (p.m.)and maybe only three or four restaurants were open," he recalled.

"Along with a downtown pedestrian mall, the arts have made this a hub of activity for the community. Now there are 15 or more restaurants open after dark downtown.

And several developers have converted old buildings into loft living spaces and others have built new buildings for very upscale downtown living."

Friday, July 1, 2011

CULTIVATING THE ARTS -6


CITIES BENEFIT FROM USING
THE ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL


Respess said progressive cities view the arts and artists as part of the fabric of the community and as a vital cog in the engine that drives economic vitality in core neighborhoods.

"One of the issues we wrestle with is `how do you maintain the artistic integrity of the building with downtown rents around it rents going through the roof?' It's tough for the city, because the city is not getting property tax from us," he explained. "The city has been very, very supportive of what's going on at McGuffey.

We benefit from a city council and city environment that has embraced the idea of the artistic process at the core of the city. The people here understand that our presence is as important as the objects we make."

Respess praised city leaders who support the art center and its recent designation on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

"I feel very fortunate to be here and I take McGuffey very seriously," he said. "It is a beautiful old Federal Style building. If you took it away, you would destroy something that is homegrown and part of daily life in the downtown of one of the most special cities anywhere."